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Stan Brown

Stories by Stan

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Rim holidays – Christmas, Part One

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Christmas was a special time for Rim Country settlers to get together and find companionship with others in the hard task of wresting ranches from the wilds. Memories of families left behind brought many a tear for those who had forged a new life in this place.

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Rim holidays – Thanksgiving Part One

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The season of Thanksgiving recalls one of America’s founding stories, the community of Pilgrims at Plymouth, Mass.

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Rim holidays – Veterans Day (Part Three)

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In 1898 the Rim Country was about to create a large new group of veterans who would go to war on behalf of our government. It was the Spanish-American War, the first to recruit soldiers after settlement.

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Rim holidays – Veterans Day

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On Veterans Day attention will turn to Payson’s Pioneer Cemetery and to the graves of those who fought in America’s wars. But Sam Hill was one of those who never wore a uniform.

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Rim holidays – Halloween

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Because Rim Country settlers were masters of the practical joke, Halloween proved to be a favorite holiday in Payson. For many years teacher Julia Randall held a small carnival at school for the children to cut pumpkins and display them.

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Rim Country holidays – Columbus Day

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The day marking the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas has been observed in the United States since Colonial times. The celebrations have ranged from large parades to no public observance at all, and it was not an official federal holiday until 1937. In 1970 the holiday was fixed by Congress as the second Monday in October.

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Rim holiday – Old-Time Fiddle Fest

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Across America, towns like Payson celebrate the holidays established by federal and state governments, but these special days do not occur often enough to satisfy the appetite of local folks. People find additional reasons to get together for fun and meeting friends, and one of these occasions is the annual Old-Time Fiddle Festival.

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Rim holidays – Independence Day

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The Fourth of July was celebrated by early settlers in the Rim Country without the help of pyrotechnics.

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Rim Country holidays – Flag Day

Flag Day was created by an act of Congress on June 14, 1877 to honor the flag of the United States, but it was not a national holiday and certainly not the kind of holiday that brought cowboys in from the ranches.

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Rim Holidays - Mother's Day

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Mother’s Day in Rim Country was hardly a time for light-hearted celebration because so many pioneer children died.

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Rim Country holidays - Easter

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When the Mormons settled up and down Pine Creek in 1877 they were already a congregation, having come to the Rim Country at the behest of their bishop.

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Rim holidays - April Fool's Day

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Practical jokes were a regular part of the Rim Country settler’s daily life. Laughter was a necessity amid the dangers of the frontier and the hardships of survival.

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St. Patrick's in Rim Country

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St. Patrick’s Feast Day is on March 17, marking the death of Ireland’s patron saint in A.D. 461.

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Celebrating Lincoln’s birthday

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Tuesday, Feb. 2, 1924 the young Payson schoolteacher, Julia Randall secretly brought her portrait of Abraham Lincoln to her classroom and placed it on an easel in front of the class.

Rim Country holidays

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Editor’s note: With this column, historian Stan Brown starts a new series. Every culture and country has its designated holidays or festivals to commemorate seasons or significant persons. Holidays also provide breaks in the humdrum routine of our everyday lives.

Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – John William Wentworth, Part 2

Attorney John Wentworth in Payson was attempting to woo Katherine Houston, the sister of the Houston brothers whose ranch headquarters was in Star Valley. However the brothers were strongly opposed to the match, not only because they didn’t want to lose their housekeeper, but because Wentworth was involved a court case with their family.  

Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – John William Wentworth, Part 1

John W. Wentworth would become a “mover and shaker” in Payson’s early days. He was born in Visalia, Calif. on Oct. 3, 1858 to John and Maria Wentworth.

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Characters under the Mogollon Rim – John Henry Thompson, Part 2

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After filling the unexpired office of the late Glenn Reynolds, John Henry Thompson was elected on his own in 1890 as sheriff of Gila County, and in June he and Carrie moved to Globe.

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Characters under the Mogollon Rim – John Henry Thompson, Part 1

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John Henry Thompson was among those Texans who along with the Haught and Ellison families migrated to the Rim Country in the 1880s. Like the others he made a significant mark on the historical landscape of Gila County and became Arizona’s longest serving sheriff.

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Characters under the Mogollon Rim – Paul Vogel, Part 2

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Paul Vogel was best known for his fruit ranch on Webber Creek, but he was also known as one of Payson’s early builders.

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Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – Paul Vogel, Part 1

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Most folks will not recognize the name Paul Vogel, although he was one of the earliest settlers in the Rim Country.

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Characters Under the Rim – Ola Burdette Smith, Part 2

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Ola Smith’s family lived at the old campsite on lower Rye Creek and as a child she gathered food, including pack rats and cactus fruit.

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Characters under the Rim – Ola Burdette Smith, Part 1

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The Tonto Apaches called her “Grandma Ola” as did many of the town folk by the time she died Oct. 13, 1998.

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Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – Bert Slater, Part 2

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Adelbert Anson Slater, always known as “Bert,” was 70 years old when he began publishing a small four-page newspaper that he called at first The Longhorn.

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Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – Bert Slater, Part 1

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Bert Slater was the “spry and friendly” fellow who published the first Payson Roundup and made his mark locally not only as a gatherer of news, but also as a Rim Country poet.

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Characters under the Mogollon Rim – Al Sieber, Part 2

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Al Sieber was known and appreciated throughout the Rim Country as one who helped make it safe for the settlers.

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Characters Under the Rim – Al Sieber, Part 1

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When you drive through Tonto Basin and approach the Roosevelt Dam along State Route 188 you will probably be so awed by the magnificent modern bridge over Roosevelt Lake you will miss seeing the sandstone monument on your left. It marks the location where Al Sieber lost his life on Feb. 19, 1907 during construction of the road.

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Characters Under the Rim - Dr. Christian Risser III - Part 2

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The era of Payson’s first medical doctor, Christian Risser III, abounds with stories passed down by folks who loved and appreciated him.

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Characters Under the Rim - Dr. Christian Risser III, Part 1

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A cold rain beat upon the doctor’s face and water soaked his clothing as he urged his horse on the trail through Tonto Basin.

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Characters Under the Rim – Julia Viola Randall, Part 2

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Beloved Payson school teacher Julia Randall considered her family to include all the many children that passed under her tutelage.

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Characters Under the Rim – Julia Viola Randall, Part 1

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On Aug. 8, 1899 a baby girl blessed the family of George and Rose Randall. She was given the name Julia after her paternal grandmother and an aunt.

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Characters Under the Rim – Nan Pyle, Part 2

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Among the amazing accomplishments of Nan Pyle during her years in Payson, was her caring for the welfare of the local Tonto Apache Tribe and its families. With their rich language the Apaches called her “A woman who has a heart as big as she is,” and in fact Nan was a very large woman.

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Characters under the Mogollon Rim - Nan Pyle, Part One

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Nan Pyle brought culture and progress to the little cow town of Payson, and the day she arrived she immediately made the dust fly with her energetic plunge into civic affairs.

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Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – August and Wilhelmina Pieper

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August Pieper was 19 years old when he immigrated to the United States in 1869. A large number of young men and entire families were leaving Germany at this time because of the turmoil from the Austro-Prussian War and the movement to establish a new German Federation.

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Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – Owens Family, Part 2

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After 1952 the Owens family sawmill became part of the familiar scene in the town of Payson.

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Characters under the Rim – the Owens family – Part 1

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Horace Franklin Owens brought his family to Payson from Pinedale (Navajo County), Ariz., sometime during the decade of the 1920s. The children of Horace and his wife Ethel (Shaw) included Franklin Maurice Owens, born April 21, 1911; George Keith Owens, born in 1912; and Kermeth Lane Owens, born Oct. 4, 1914. The boys’ sister, Kathlyn Mae Owens, was born Nov. 6, 1916. [1]

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Characters Under the Rim – Marguerite Noble, Part 2

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Throughout her years of teaching Marguerite Noble developed her love for writing and storytelling.

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Characters Under the Rim – Marguerite Noble, Part 1

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Marguerite Noble is best known as the author of the novel “Filaree” (Random House, 1979), a story of ranch life in Arizona’s Tonto Basin from 1910 on through the 20th century.

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Characters under the Mogollon Rim – Lafayette P. Nash, Part 3

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Lafayette P. Nash returned victoriously from his time at the Territorial Legislature, and on Dec. 13, 1886 he was appointed postmaster at Strawberry.

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Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – Lafayette P. Nash, Part 2

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It was early July in Tonto Basin, 1882, and the temperature was getting quite warm. The postmaster at Reno, Lafayette P. Nash, was startled to find the old army camp filling with cavalry units from Fort McDowell.

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Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – Lafayette P. Nash, Part 1

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Lafayette Philander Nash made his mark in the Rim Country as a prospector, community leader, postmaster, merchant and miner, but tracing the odyssey of his life proved to be a very confusing search.

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Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – Clyde Moose, Payson ranger, Part 2

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When Clyde Moose became superintendent of the Payson Ranger District in 1937, life there was still primitive. For example, there had been no telephone connection to the “outside world” until just before Ranger Moose arrived.

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Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – Clyde Moose, Payson ranger, Part 1

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Clyde P. Moose came to Payson in March 1937 to assume the position of District Forest Ranger and though his stay was only three years, he and his wife Ruby endeared themselves to the ranchers and townsfolk.

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Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – McDonald, Bill and Mart

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There were two McDonald families who made their mark during the early settlement of Payson.

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Characters under the Mogollon Rim – Belle Lovelady, Part 3

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Belle Lovelady had served as the first telephone operator in Payson for a few years when Walter’s lung problems recurred. She had the switchboard moved from the Forest Service headquarters to their home on Frontier Street so she could stay close to him.

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Characters Under the Rim – Belle Lovelady, Part 2

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Belle Lovelady and her husband Walter were living at his ranch on Webber Creek after he returned from serving in World War I.

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Characters under the Rim – Belle Lovelady, Part 1

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Belle Lovelady is best known in the Rim Country as the first telephone operator for the Payson area.

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Characters under the Rim – Julian Journigan, Part 2

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Julian Journigan and his cousin Charley See were partners beginning in 1921 operating the government mail between Payson and Globe. They had graduated from a horse-drawn mail wagon to a Cadillac touring car that would carry five passengers and their luggage as well as the mail.

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Characters under the Rim – Julian Journigan, Part 1

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Julian Journigan would be best remembered for driving a Cadillac on his mail route between Payson and Globe, and for his kindness to ranchers along the route.

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Characters Under the Mogollon Rim – Henry Irving, Part 3

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The Indian Hill community grew as more Tonto Apaches settled there, returning from the San Carlos Reservation.

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